Cache Creek Vineyards
Lake County is rapidly becoming recognized as a world-class wine-growing region.
We are forever grateful to the family visionary, Bill “Poppo” Van Pelt, our father and grandfather, for discovering and purchasing the land that eventually was planted to grapes.
Our 74-acre sustainably farmed vineyard is part of the 590-acre parcel Poppo purchased in 1997. Nestled between the surrounding mountainous terrain and Cache Creek, which flows through the property, we planted grape varieties—Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc—that we knew would do well in our microclimate and soil, collectively referred to as terroir.
Our terroir—a French word that describes the environmental factors that influence grapes—is different from other terroirs within Lake County, although there are similarities.
Cache Creek Vineyard’s Terroir
Cache Creek Vineyards experiences average summer daytime temperatures between 90-95°. In the evening, the cooling breezes from nearby Clear Lake can reduce the temperature to 55-60°. This 35° swing helps preserve the desired acidity to produce premium quality wines. The surrounding mountainous terrain and Cache Creek also contribute to our microclimate.
The vineyard’s ground is composed of old alluvial soil, which is a combination of clay, silt, and sand with rocky gravel underneath, which allows for excellent drainage during the rainy winter months. The soil is also rich with micro minerals, like magnesium, but lean in other more growth-promoting material, so the vines are stressed during the growing season. Stressed vines have to work harder and the resulting grapes produce wines that are elegant and more refined in style. Our soil is a winemaker’s dream.
Poppo purchased the land because he fell in love with its beauty, the natural environment, and the wildlife that called it home. From the beginning, our commitment to the land inspired us to sustainably farm the vineyards, and preserve the property as a wildlife habitat.
We’ve planted a variety of grasses for the Tule elk and other animals to feed on and to attract beneficial insect predators. We do in-row tilling to limit the use of herbicides, and place owl boxes throughout the vineyard to provide a natural method of gopher control. We also practice deficit irrigation to conserve water and limit our throughput, or carbon footprint, in the vineyards.
In the summer of 2017, our vineyards were recognized as Certified California Sustainable Winegrowers by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Each member of the vineyard and winemaking team is committed to our sustainable practices. Tony Medina, who has been with us for almost a decade and took over as vineyard foreman when his father Francisco retired, heads our vineyard team. Derek Holstein has been our winemaker since our first vintage, and works closely with Tony, especially as harvest nears. Don Van Pelt, who manages his family’s vineyard and winery, daily visits the vineyards and keeps in close communication with Tony year round and Derek during the various phases of winemaking.
The Final Result
It is the combination of all these factors, plus the love we have of our land and the vineyards, that results in our award-winning wines.
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